In response to Kathy Gyngell: Time to fight back against fatherlessness, paul parmenter wrote:
My own relationship with my father was very complicated but mainly for very good reasons. I would not have got half as far in my life without him; in fact there is a very good chance I would have been dead long ago if he had not been there for me. As a father myself to three daughters, I know how hard it can be and how little support exists, but how great the rewards are when you contend successfully against all the odds and can see them grow up to a happy and stable adulthood.
But fatherhood is a very difficult thing, besieged by both nature and the laws of man. Women think that as child bearers they have the worst of the parenthood deal, but Nature has also dealt men a pretty rotten hand. For a start, you may not ever know if that child is really your own flesh and blood. Technology can now answer that question, but the law is very hostile to the idea of letting men use it. It would rather let men raise and pay for somebody else’s child in ignorance, and with his own genetic heritage shunted into a dead end, than let him discover the truth. Then there are those men who really are fathers, but the mother won’t let them know – or has no certainty of who the real father is. And on top of all this is the destructive activity of so-called family courts, whose main objective still appears to be to separate fathers from their children to the greatest extent possible, based on the stubborn conviction that a father’s only role is to support the mother in whatever she decides she wants to do with the children, and to pay all the bills.
Paternity is thus a fraught and dangerous field for any man. Strange that with all the evidence stacked in favour of how important fathers are, so many powers – ranging from all the major political parties to the media, the advertising industry, the law and just about every aspect of the great machines of state – either completely ignore the issue or take an interest only for the purpose of belittling, maligning and grinding down the role of dads at every opportunity.